Ohio State’s Psychological Services Center is now offering free psychological counseling to students and members of the Columbus community who have a drug or alcohol addiction.

Many college students have friends or people around them that have a problem with substance use, said Michael Vilensky, clinical program manager at PSC.

“There is such a culture of drinking and substance use that we know, when we look at the statistics, is a big factor in students dropping out or failing to thrive and failing to graduate or having other kinds of problems,” Vilensky said. “Often times people don’t do anything about it.”

He said PSC can also help concerned students who want to know whether their friend’s substance use is normal.

PSC has been helping treat Ohio State students and Columbus-area residents with mental-health concerns since 1981. Now, substance-abuse and addiction treatment will be offered in addition to treating depression, anxiety and stress, and other mental-health issues.

The counseling services offer individual or group-based treatments for all who are struggling with addiction and other mental-health problems, Vilensky said.

He said PSC is available to answer any questions from anyone who is worried about their own substance use or a friend’s use.

“If people have a question about what may constitute a problem or if they want to just get information, then we are happy to talk to people and answer those questions too,” Vilensky said.

Clients are seen by graduate students in clinical psychology who are supervised by nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field, according to a PSC service overview. The new substance-use counseling is vital to not only the clients, but the clinical psychologists in training, as well.

As a former graduate student at Ohio State, Vilensky recalls not having a similar opportunity to work with clients who needed addiction treatment, and said he finds the training opportunity to be invaluable.

“I thought it was really useful to offer a training resource to the students in our program,” Vilensky said. “Working [with clients trying to get over substance abuse] is such a useful experience for trainees.”

The new addition to PSC complements Ohio State’s Collegiate Recovery Community, which has been helping students in recovery for years

Ahmed Hosni, the interim program manager at CRC, said he sees the possibilities and benefits of offering so many avenues of recovery to our community.

“We support everything that they do and we support their mission to try to make support services and therapy accessible to not only Ohio State students, but also the central Ohio community,” Hosni said.

Hosni said he has discussed the importance of mental health with students and believes PSC can exemplify that importance with its new service.

“I think [PSC] can help play a part in what that looks like for a lot of students on campus,” Hosni said.

Hosni said he thinks it is great that Ohio State is taking the lead in offering so many sources to people struggling with addiction and other mental-health issues.

“This is just another great resource on our campus from people who are very educated and capable of providing beneficial and meaningful resources,” Hosni said. “It is exciting, really exciting.”